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A monument to Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery is the latest monument targeted by a military renaming commission tasked with wiping references to the Confederacy from the U.S. military.
“It is problematic from the top to the bottom,” retired Brig. Gen. Ty Seidule, vice chair of the Naming Commission, said during a press conference Tuesday, according to a Military.com report.
The Arlington statue, a bronze and granite monument that depicts southern soldiers marching into battle while Black slaves holding a White soldier’s baby follow, was built in 1914. But, 108 years later, the Naming Commission is recommending to Congress that the statue be removed down to its granite base plate.
The decision comes as part of the commission’s final report to lawmakers, which also included recommendations to change the name of the Navy’s USS Chancellorsville and USNS Maury.
The USS Chancellorsville was named after a Civil War battle in which the Confederacy emerged victorious, considered one of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s most storied battlefield victories. The USNS Maury is named after a pioneer of oceanography and naval officer who joined the side of the south during the Civil War.
“What did they say when they commissioned the ship? We looked at what used to be in the boardroom, and there were pictures of Lee and Jackson in the boardroom, and that’s been taken out since then,” Seidule said of the USS Chancellorsville. “So we looked at the entire context and felt as though this commemorated the Confederacy, as a unanimous decision among the eight commissioners.”
The commission’s work has mostly centered around the names of bases that honor Confederate leaders, including Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Benning, Georgia. The commission has recommended new names for these Army bases.
Congress created the commission in 2020 after lawmakers overrode a veto by former President Trump, who opposed renaming bases that honor Confederate leaders.
The changes are supposed to be finished by 2024, though members of the commission acknowledged that the changing of base names will be one of the military’s more complicated undertakings.
“There’s some places where the secretaries can move on fairly quickly,” Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, a member of the commission, said during the Tuesday briefing. “Maybe the bases are going to take some time.”